Schools in Aboriginal areas are failing to give priority to Aborigines when hiring teachers, as required by the law, Aboriginal educators said yesterday.
"Although the Aboriginal Educational Law has stated that schools in Aboriginal regions are encouraged to consider Aboriginal teachers first before considering candidates of other ethnic groups for their teaching openings, many schools have chosen not to do so," said Malai Gumai, a consultant of the domestic affairs section at the KMT think-tank National Policy Foundation.
Gumai was speaking at a forum sponsored by the foundation to discuss possible improvements in the government's educational policies for Aborigines.
The government needs to enforce the law more strictly so that schools will not turn away Aboriginal teachers, Gumai said.
"Noting the frequency of such events, we would like to suggest the government make priority hiring of Aboriginal teachers a requirement rather than merely an encouragement," Gumai said.
"[It should] also stipulate stricter regulations, such as outlining punishments for schools that do not comply with the Aboriginal Educational Law, to ensure that Aboriginal teachers get the opportunity to teach in Aboriginal regions," Gumai said.
The forum also discussed ways to enrich Aboriginal-related curriculums and to encourage Aborigines to take part in higher education.
Mikagkag Lifuk, chief executive of the Association of Knowledge and Economics for Aborigines, said that all Aborigines that work in Aboriginal-related civil groups and governmental agencies should take training that supplies them with knowledge of Taiwan's Aboriginal tribes.
"There is career-oriented training for people in technology fields and the like, so how come there is no such training for people who work in Aboriginal-related careers?" Lifuk asked.
"How can Aborigines expect to earn respect from Han and other ethnic groups in Taiwan when [Aborigines] themselves can't even name the other Aboriginal tribes in Taiwan," he said.
In related news, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday took part in an award ceremony for outstanding Aboriginal individuals and civil groups for their contributions to the development of Taiwan's society.
Aboriginal pop singer A-mei was among the nine individuals and four civil groups to receive awards at the ceremony, which was sponsored by the Cabinet-level Council of Aboriginal Affairs.